India, UAE may sign comprehensive trade agreement by March

UAE is likely to reach a comprehensive trade agreement with India by December and sign the pact by March, UAE commerce minister Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi has said. The value of UAE’s non-oil trade with India was expected to rise from pre-pandemic levels of $40 billion to over $100 billion in five years, the minister, who was in New Delhi on Thursday to begin trade pact talks, told ET.

“Today, we officially began talks to establish the India-United Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. It will enhance ties, deepen economic and investment opportunities, and mark a new phase of strategic cooperation. We are optimistic that an agreement can be completed rapidly. (Commerce minister) Piyush Goyal and I are satisfied with the progress we have made to date. We look forward to the next round of productive talks,” Al Zeyoudi said.

Trade in goods, services and closer cooperation in priority areas will be covered under CEPA, he said. “India has an attractive and competitive services sector that makes an important contribution to the country’s GDP. Specific sectors that will be included in CEPA are yet to be finalised, he said.

“We are optimistic that a comprehensive and mutually beneficial agreement can be reached by December. It will give us enough time to sign a deal in March 2022, subject to completion of legal procedures and ratification by both parties,” he said.

Al Zeyoudi said there was a big role for Indians in the UAE. “The Indian community is an important part of the UAE’s multicultural society. More than 3.5 million Indian nationals call the UAE home and there are over 4,000 companies from startups to multinational corporations operating across real estate, retail, manufacturing, media and more.”

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We are also overhauling our visa system and offering new long-term residency visas. This has already benefited many Indian expat investors and entrepreneurs. Earlier this week, for example, Dubai-based Indian philanthropist Joginder Singh Salaria received a golden visa for his humanitarian work.



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